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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Julie A. Dickson ----- four poems

Action Required

Attached firmly to the entrails

of receding justice,

we stand in shock, aghast.

Can the torch of Liberty burn out

so easily, extinguished by apathy,

or will man intervene?

Must it be the fate of humanity

to erupt into civil war,

knowing historically, they failed to resolve?

By voicing out truth, interpretive words,

dismissing silence as passive acceptance,

action required; peace is not attained by chance.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH

Women, Flowers and a Cow

Ok, some Susan has a flower named for her.

Black-Eyed Susans are abundantly found

on roadside or bower but who was she?

What quite astounds me this the idea that

the actual Susan might have bumped her eye

on a door and bore a shiner, but I implore you

to explain to me why a gold flower bears her name

or are cows to blame, since I read that a Holstein

black and white was sometimes nicknamed the same.

Yes, Black-Eyed Susans of the bovine variety

were said to give the sweetest milk, they claim,

but back to the flower which is not black and white

and now I’m confused (because of the cow];

again the gold and black flower comes to mind;

sure, it was kind of the person who claimed

the title (or fame) for their particular Susan.

I’d prefer the reason be known, since I wonder

if the poem of this name refers to the same

Susan written by the poet John Gay?

In a long-ago day, gold and black coat of arms

for Lord Baltimore, thus the state flower

of Maryland is (you guessed it) the Black-Eyed Susan.

Once more the mystery unfolds to reveal

a woman, a flower and a cow. (how surreal!)

Now you know the why and how I began to

feel there was more to the given name of

this gold and black flower. I thought by the hour

of a woman named Susan, of her boarding ships

and the root extracts diuretic, for grips and

remedies for maladies by natives and maybe

this story goes on in a black and gold epic!

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH


Smolder in Doubt

Wandering, but not exactly –

more like wondering, or beyond that,

revealing an underlying force,

not so much feeling remorse,

and in that belief a change begins.

I feel strange in this unknown state,

know I cannot relate – I can barely

conceal my surprise as I start

to recognize the feeling

I now see was discontent.

Emerging from a past, predictable abyss,

surging forward, perhaps too fast -

afraid to miss the pinnacle, unreachable,

no warning visible but the disquiet I sense,

no recompense on this path I seek.

I must speak out - loudly now,

put aside this proudly meek existence,

forge ahead, into a gorge, a deep chasm,

between a place of reaction, what must be

and in sorrow, where I’ve been as I flee.

Left behind a burnt, scorched ember,

the fire has gone out,

ashes smolder in doubt

as I try not to remember.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH


Untitled Tanka Poem

Cooler comes Autumn,

fades heavy heat of Summer,

ceases Cicada song.

Acorns gathered in earnest,

falling leaves bleed crimson tears.

Julie A. Dickson

Exeter, NH

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Bethany Reid ----- four poems


Slick new leaves and sticky blossoms scattered,
a world that aches to be born, tremor

of birth pangs, of wind drawing down
the tops of the trees, spattering of hail,

windshield wipers like a metronome,
and life more and more like that, your hands

fumbling at the keys, but what keys –
the music scattered, one wrong note after another.

My Father, Growing Wings                                             

It began in August
on a white table in the ICU—

but all through our wet autumn
it continued, the roots

of his wings struggling, digging
their way into muddy earth.

So much work to support
so much beauty, like men starved

and beaten to build the cathedral
at Chartres. Now it is winter

and my father’s wings wrap sinew
and tendon deep into my vital organs,

my tenebrous heart. I would have
my father back, wingless,

without sails to trim. I would keep him
grounded, untouched by any grace

save that of my own wishing, no halo,
no harp, his cracked bucket

of a voice still unable to carry
a tune.  I know that you hear it,

as I do, that whisper
brushing against your ear—

it’s the sound of wings fledging,
it’s the sound of your loved ones,

practicing to fly away.

The Kingdom of Heaven                                                  

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed,
so Jesus says in the Gospels.
John of Patmos remembered “kingdom,”

and had a vision of gold beaten so thin

it was transparent, gates
made of tremendous pearls, buildings

layered with jasper and emerald, sapphire,
chalcedony. The mustard seed is very small,
but planted and nourished, it grows

into a tree so large all the birds of the air

nest in its branches. In the flutter
of bird wings, John saw angels.

This morning, outside my patio door,
a housefinch lights in the rhododendron,
his rosy head the same color as dawn.

In the vine maple, a flock of nuthatches are warbling

their own gospel. Somewhere, bombs
collapse walls, ravage gardens. Somewhere, a boy

carries a rifle into a school room. Who can blame
the pious and exiled St. John for dreaming
of another world? I slice open a peach

and drop the pit into the loam of the flowerbeds.

Sunlight throws a robe over my shoulders,
rests a hand on my head, like a wobbling crown. 

What I Need Now

I need a version of creation
            to account for the cat’s curiosity,
                        the dog’s fidelity, the beauty
            of two white birds flying

over the bare oaks in a field,
            the goat’s lust. Humans, it’s said,
                        are created with a soul,
            on a higher plane than animals,

but where is the soul of the human
            emptying an ashtray on the grass,
                        or the soul of the corporation
            building a parking lot on a wetland?

If life is a spiritual quest,
            why do I keep searching
                        for the perfect haircut, a sweater
            that will match my eyes?

In the cosmic, Zen sense
            of what use is television?
                        Of what use is war?
            I should have asked these questions

eons back, and by now made some
            progress toward answers. Instead it is
                        the burro pastured by the trailer park
            who teaches me to mingle my breath
with the morning mist, to love
                        the grass because it is
            as much as because it is a gift
                        from any god.